It turns out there’s a very easy trick that will help you doze off quicker – and it’s something you’re probably very familiar with.
A recent study has found writing a “to do” list helps people fall asleep much quicker – with people who spent five minutes jotting down their upcoming duties nodding off nine minutes faster.
Research conducted by Baylor University in Texas compared the effects of writing a ‘completed’ list versus a ‘to do’ list.
57 students were split into two groups, where researchers monitored their sleep.
Students stayed in the lab during a weekday night, and were given a five-minute writing assignment.
One group as told to write about the tasks they had completed over the last few days, while the other had to write about everything they needed to remember to do over the next few days.
Those who were in the ‘to do’ group fell asleep around 16 minutes after the lights went out, while those in the ‘completed’ group dozed off aver an average of 25 minutes.
Lead author and the study’s leader Dr Michael Scullin said that writing the list of things to remember allowed people to “offload” their thoughts – which ultimately reduced their stress, letting them sleep soundly.
“We live in a 24/7 culture in which our to-do lists seem to be constantly growing and causing us to worry about unfinished tasks at bedtime.
“Most people just cycle through their to-do lists in their heads, and so we wanted to explore whether the act of writing them down could counteract nighttime difficulties with falling asleep.
“There are two schools of thought about this.
“One is that writing about the future would lead to increased worry about unfinished tasks and delay sleep, while journaling about completed activities should not trigger worry.
“The alternative hypothesis is that writing a to-do list will ‘offload’ those thoughts and reduce worry,”